Manicures and pedicures are part of the weekly beauty regimen for most women in America. This is especially true in warm climates like Southern California and Florida where toes are on display pretty much year-round in sandals and flip flops. For better or worse, we don't have as many reasons to wear boots in the winter, although who doesn't love a great pair of boots?
When I first moved to the US I was 28 years old and I'd never had a manicure or pedicure in my life. It wasn't something British women did on a regular basis. You never saw nail salons: women with painted nails did them at home. My mother certainly did.
It wasn't until I moved to California that I began to frequent nail salons. At age 37, I was definitely a late bloomer. Fiona first came with me when she was 4 - yet another rite of passage for girls here. Naked nails are hard to find, although I do like going au natural to give my fingers and toes a breather every now and then.
OK men, it's your turn. Here are two things that differentiate British and American men at a single glance.
The cut of the suit. It's a fact: European tailoring cuts suits closer to the body. This means pants are straighter and narrower and jackets are more fitted to the torso. Think Daniel Craig as James Bond. American men tend to favor pants that are wider-legged and perhaps pleated, with more boxy jackets - in some cases double-breasted. Think Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock.
Now, this isn't to say that one way is completely right and the other is completely wrong. I've been in far too many meetings where the pants were a little too tight, leaving little in the crotch area to the imagination. On the other hand, a suit isn't a muumuu. A well-cut suit is a thing of beauty and the Brit in me does favor the more fitted version, if it's well done.
Undershirts beneath dress shirts. This is something that all professional American men do. A clean, bright, white undershirt beneath a dress shirt makes the wearer appear fresh and expensive. Even if the shirt is thin, having that extra layer adds heft to the look and enables you to concentrate on the man, not the attire.
For some reason, most British men don't add this layer, and again, I've sat in meetings where the jackets have come off and you can see through the shirt to the skin below, including smatterings of chest hair. It's not a good look. It doesn't look professional and if the shirt is thin, it's very distracting. Take another look at the thumbnail picture above if you don't believe me.
Does anyone have a pet peeve in the grooming arena? Let me know if you do.